Development of a University of Virginia Library Accessibility Chrome Extension; Social Media as a tool of Resistance and Control in the People’s Republic of China

Ormond, Benjamin, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Seabrook, Bryn, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Ibrahim, Ahmed, EN-Comp Science Dept, University of Virginia

Free access to information online is critical to improvements in education, to society, and our understanding of the world. In the People’s Republic of China, protest groups and the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party engage in discourse through social media with a variety of tactics that encourage or discourage the free spread of information to citizens in China and abroad. Similarly, large corporations like Amazon and Barnes and Noble control the flow of information in the United States, charging money for freely available academic resources from libraries. Building a Google Chrome extension to encourage the usage of University of Virginia resources and the analysis of current strategies used by conflicting groups online in China both assist in the freedom of information online through new tools and research on strategies used to resist government censorship. The free and equal usage of digital information is important in that it allows people a wider view of the world in which they live in. Whether by providing the citizens of China with information about the actions of their government or by providing easier access academic resources to disadvantaged students in America, the spread of accessible digital information is a worthy goal to strive for.
The development of a Google Chrome extension for the University of Virginia (UVA) library system will allow academic content to be free and easily accessible to users on the internet. Companies like Amazon and Barnes and Noble have made it incredibly easy for users to purchase content from their devices whereas accessing the exact same content from the UVA library is far less intuitive. By creating a Google Chrome extension that automatically appears whenever related UVA library content is searched for on sites like Amazon and Barnes and Noble, users are encouraged to use the libraries free resources instead of making a purchase on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. This creation is significant because it allows users who may not have been willing or able to pay for academic content able to access this content easily. The free access of academic resources digitally contributes to the education of greater society as a whole. The extension will benefit many types of users by improving the ability for researchers to research by reducing research access costs, allowing casual users to more easily discover library resources, and by providing a more accessible way to access digital content rather than directly through the library website. Similarly, the censorship that has led to the lack of accessibility to unrestricted social media and academic information in modern China is an ongoing political issue.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Coproduction, People's Republic of China, Social Media, Chrome Extension, University of Virginia Library

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Technical Advisor: Ahmed Ibrahim
STS Advisor: Bryn Seabrook
Technical Team Members: Ryan Kelly, Tho Nguyen, Nitesh Parajuli, Yukesh Sitoula, Ben Spector, Ashish Upadhyaya

All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
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